Recently we had a scare with my husband’s dad. Right after Christmas he had a heart attack and seemed to be recovering then all went down hill and he ended up in heart surgery with a complete valve replacement and a low chance to live. This was totally unexpected since he has been very active and healthy. Yes, he’s 83 but he sure doesn’t look like it. We are blessed so much because he is doing so well in his recovery. He has gotten discharged to home and is doing miraculously well.
One of the things that he said as he was recovering was how wonderful it was to have Mary Beth (his wife) by him the whole time. She never left him and she has been right there to help in every way. She made sure before he had even had this happen that he was taken care of with healthy meals and that he made it to all his doctor’s appointments. Then afterward she has lovingly cared for him in ways that no one else can. As a medical provider I have read that the people that heal the best are those that are surrounded by those that love them. He was so grateful and knew how blessed he was to have her by his side. The same was said of my mom and dad when he was sick and at the end of his life. I have also seen the statistics that men live ten years longer that have been in a healthy married relationship.
I also came to realize how important it is when parents stay together. Yes, all the children were right there when there was a possibility that we might lose him, but also afterwards there has been so much love and support for both Dad and Mom, as was for my Mom and Dad. But what happens when two people divorce and age. Unfortunately I have seen that side with patients too. When a parent is not in the home or if there is a divorce where there is great resentment between two parents then one is usually left out. There is not the obligation or desire to be there for the parent that left the home. Then that person suffers alone and does not receive the loving care and concern that is given to those that have been married for years.
This seems to be a bigger problem than people realize. We forget that when we age we have a need to be with people. Our health is so much better when we are with loved ones. I think about my mom’s best friend and how they are in their 90’s and they still are independent and take care of themselves. It’s the sweetest thing to see two older people look out for each other. I believe that is what God wants us to do as we age. He must be broken hearted to see someone that has no one to care for them when they are older.
You know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we think of all the syrupy sweet romance, but it’s so much more than that. The most romantic love I see is the one that lasts a lifetime. Through the tough times and good they keep going then at the end they are there for each other. Every morning as I walk down my stairs I look at a sign right above my head that says, “Grow old alone with me, the best is yet to be…” The long term love and relationships are truly beautiful. How wonderful to know that you have someone that loves you and will help to care for you. Thank you to my mom & dad as well as my husband’s that have given us this wonderful example.